How to Get Over Guilt Caused by Cheating
The feeling you get when you do something wrong is called guilt. The fact that you feel guilty about cheating is not a bad thing. It shows that your morals and values are intact and are working to help make you a better person. However, holding on to guilt can make it hard for you to move on.
1 Recognize and Accept
Recognize and accept what it is that you have done wrong. Accept that your relationship may never be the same again. You must realize that what is done is done and that you cannot change the past, no matter how much you wish it were so, suggests relationship coach Marina Pearson in her Huffington Post article "After An Affair: Are You Wracked with Guilt over Cheating?" Talk with your partner about how you will move forward from here. Give your partner the opportunity to decide whether or not she wants to work things out. Hiding the truth from your partner may only worsen your feelings of guilt.
Once you accept your mistake, you must forgive yourself. Without forgiveness, you are likely to continue replaying the memories of your transgression over and over in your mind. These memories can become a stumbling block, affecting your growth as a person. A lack of forgiveness can prevent you from living and enjoying life to the fullest, Pearson says. You will not be able to participate meaningfully in relationships with your friends and family because you are too busy putting yourself down for being a “bad person," judging your future actions by your past mistakes.
3 Change Your Behavior
To help eliminate the feelings of guilt, stop the behavior that is causing you to feel guilty in the first place, says the CEO of Psych Central John Grohol in “5 Tips for Dealing with Guilt.” If you have not ended the relationship with the other person, do so immediately. If possible, stop all communication; if that is not possible, keep your interaction strictly platonic. You and your partner may agree to be more open about sharing your daily lives. Share access to your social media accounts and email. Talk about who you see and speak with each day to keep your partner in the loop.
4 Move On
Going forward from cheating can happen only if you learn from your mistakes. When you have truly seen the error of your ways and learned your lesson, you will be less likely to fall into the same trap and cheat again in the future. Figure out what your weaknesses are. Upon reflection and self-examination, you may notice that you have issues with commitment or a fear of being hurt. Find ways to get inner peace through activities such as yoga, meditation, exercise or prayer; consider becoming more involved in a club or joining a sports team. Eventually you will have the opportunity to love again as a committed and faithful partner.